The morning we are going to be talking about predestination. Predestination is defined as:
determination as if by destiny or fate
Whether a person believes in God or not, many believe in predestination because they believe certain people are predestined to do certain things. However, for our purpose this morning, we will be examine what the Bible teaches about predestination.
There are three basic positions that people say about God and predestination.
Anyone who reads the Bible will quickly find out that the first position cannot be true because it will not take you long to see that God predetermine some things. For example:
Revelation 13:8 All who
dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the
Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
1 Peter 1:19 but with
the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20
He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but
was manifest in these last times for you
From these Scriptures, we
learn that God had a predetermined plan to save mankind through His Son before
the earth was formed because He knew that mankind would fall into sin and would
need a plan to be saved.
We have eliminated the
position that God has not predetermined anything. Now we must choose between
him predetermining some things and predetermining all things. Those who hold
the Calvinistic view of predestination would say that God has predetermined
everything, which is why they teach that some are predestined to be saved,
whether they want to be or not, and some predestined to be lost.
If this is true, it would
mean that we have no choice in being saved or lost because our destiny has been
predetermined. If we kill someone, get a sickness, or have a bad car wreck,
none of it will be our fault because it is our destiny if God predetermines
"And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for
yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your
fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of
the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will
serve the LORD."
If God predestined
everything then Joshua was out his mind because he could not possibly expect
these Jews to choose whom they served. If this position is true, we need
understand that we are wasting our time at inviting people to obey the gospel,
but what did Jesus say:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give
Did Jesus say come to me
those of you who have been predetermined to be saved. No, He said, Come to Me,
Revelation 22:17 And the
Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say,
"Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take
the water of life freely.
Does the verse limit who
can take of the water of life. No, it doesnít, because whoever desires it, can
have it. What did Jesus tell His disciples to do in the great commission:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,† 20 "teaching them to observe
all things that I have commanded you;
If God predetermines
everything what would be the point it teaching everyone about the Word. It
would not matter what you say to them because they are already saved or lost.
Those who hold the
Calvinistic view of predestination think that Paul teaches their position, yet
we find Paul saying:
2 Corinthians 5:11 †Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we
Romans 10:1 †Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God
If Paul believed that God
predestined everything, then why did Paul bother with persuading men? Why would
he pray for
Colossians 1:28 Him we
preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom,
that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To
this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in
Notice he warned and
taught every man he came in contact with so that he might present every man
perfect in Christ Jesus. If Paul believed in the Calvinistic predestination
position then he must have been confused when he wrote this letter.
Another big problem with
this view is that it would mean that God is showing partiality and there no way
around that. How could a person say that He is not be partial when He makes one
person saved and one lost. Not only does this view violate our free will, it
would also cause the Scriptures to be wrong because Peter said:
Acts 10:34 Then
Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God
shows no partiality.† 35
"But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted
by Him. †
Paul agrees with Peter
because he writes two times that God does not show partiality in Romans 2:11
and Ephesians 6:9. As far as I can tell, it not possible for this view to work
without God showing partiality.
Let us take a look at two
verses by Paul and Peter:
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord
is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is
longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all
should come to repentance.
1 Timothy 2:3 For
this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,† 4 who desires all men to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
How in the world can
Peter and Paul say that God wants all to come to repentance and wants all men
to be saved if salvation is only limited to those who have been predestined to
be saved? Verses like these prove that God has not predestined all things and
that every person has the choice to be saved or to be lost.
Another major problem
with this view is that if you are predestined to be saved, then there is no way
for you to be lost. One of the favorite verses that people like to use to prove
predestination and that you cannot be lost one you are saved is:
John 6:37 "All
that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by
no means cast out.
In this verse, we see
that Father gives Jesus those that will come to Him, but the question becomes,
how does the Father give people to Jesus? Is by force or by irresistible
grace?† †Later in this chapter, Jesus tells us how the
Father does this:
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will
raise him up at the last day.† 45
"It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.'
Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
Jesus is teaching us that
Father gives people to Him by them hearing the Word of God. That is how they
are drawn by the Father because the truth will set you free and as Paul said:
Romans 1:16 For I
am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation
for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.†
Notice, salvation is available for everyone who believes. In
the second part of our verse, Jesus said, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means
cast out. From this, people will
teach that once your saved you cannot be lost, but that is not what Jesus is
When Jesus says He will
not cast out those who come to Him, He is talking about those who have become
His disciples and who choose to stay with Him. No one can force away from
Jesus, but we can choose to separate ourselves from Him.
This idea is illustrated
in Romans 11 where Paul teaches that the unbelieving Jew was cut off from the
root, which is referring to Jesus, and the Gentile was allowed to be grafted
into that root. However, Paul warns them not to boast about this and warns them
that God can remove them from the root once they have been grafted in.
For if God did not
spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the
goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you,
goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off
Also, Jesus compares
Himself to a vine in John 15 and specifically says:
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as
a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the
fire, and they are burnedĒ (Jn. 15:6).
While we should take
great comfort in knowing that Jesus will not cast us out or cut us off while we
faithfully follow Him, we should not be fooled into believing the false
doctrine once saved always saved. In fact, throughout the New Testament, we are
warned about turning away from God and falling from His grace. For example:
1 Corinthians 10:12
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Hebrews 4:11 Let us
therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the
same example of disobedience
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue
peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the
Lord:† 15 looking carefully
lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;
2 Peter 3:17 †beware lest you also fall from your own
steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
Galatians 5:4 You have
become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law;
you have fallen from grace.
Verses like these prove
that once you are saved that you can become lost because you can choose to stop
following God and your sins will separate you from Him.
Romans 6:23 For the
wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have only examined a
few of the verses that prove that once saved always saved is false, but for
times sake I want to show one more that will drive the point home.
Hebrews 6:4 For it
is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the
heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,† 5 and have tasted the good word of
God and the powers of the age to come,† 6
if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again
for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
The writer is talking
about those who were Christians, and he lets us know that if they fall away,
which means that they can fall away, itís like they are putting Jesus back on
that cross and putting Him in open shame. So, donít let anyone ever convince
you that God has predetermined everything because if that is true, we might as
well through our Bibles away and just wait and see if we are going to be lost
We have ruled out two of
the positions that people hold when it comes predestination and God. It is not
true that God has not predetermined anything or that He has predetermined
everything. That leaves us with the position that God has predetermined some
things. As you will see, this is the Biblical view of
For example, we read in:
1 Peter 1:20 He
indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in
these last times for you
This teaches us that God
predetermined before the foundation of the world who He would use to redeem
mankind, and as you read through the OT and the NT you can see how that God
help bring about His plan in various ways. Sometimes he accomplished this
through His providence as with Joseph becoming 2nd in command to
save the lineage of Christ from starvation. Other times He might use miracles
to bring about something He has predetermine like the plagues and parting of
the red sea, which allowed the children of
1 Kings 13:2 †Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, a child, Josiah
by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the
priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be
burned on you.'
About 200 years later
this prophecy came to pass in:
2 Kings 23:15
Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which
Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and
the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and crushed it
to powder, and burned the wooden image.†
16 As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs that were there
on the mountain. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them
on the altar, and defiled it according to the word of the LORD which the
man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.†
Nothing in Scripture
mentions that God told anyone to name this king Josiah. In fact, his father had
not followed God and was an unrighteous king, but since God is omniscient he
knew that Josiah would be the man that fulfilled this prophecy.
While it is hard sometimes
for us to discern between what God predetermined to happen, and what He knows
is going to happen, we do know that Jesus was predestined to be our Savior and
God knew the events that would take place surrounding His birth, life, and
death on the cross, but God in no way has caused anyone to be good or bad, or
to be lost or saved.
He has however, used His
foreknowledge of people and how they would react to certain circumstances to
bring about His predetermined plans. For example:
He knew how Pharaoh would react to the ten plagues. He did not cause Pharaoh to act the way He did, but He knew that the plagues would harden his heart. Pharaoh had the freedom to act in a more rational way, but his arrogance would not allow him to, so God played off his pride.
The same thing could be said about Judas. No one forced Judas to betray Jesus, but Jesus knew before it every happened that he would betray Him. While Judas fulfilled the Scripture about Jesus being betrayed, this was accomplished by Godís foreknowledge of Judasís actions and not by overriding Judasís free will. Unlike some today, Judas did not blame Satan for his mistake. Instead, he said:
Matthew 27:4 "I
have sinned by betraying innocent blood."
He sinned by his own free will, yet what
he did was prophesied. The same idea can be seen when Peter was preaching to
those that was gathered on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:23 †"Him, being delivered by the determined
purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have
crucified, and put to death;
God knew beforehand how
the Jews would react to Jesus and His message, and He knew that these wicked
men would have Jesus arrested, tried, and put to death. Even though God
predestined Jesus to die for us, He did force the men to do what they did, but
He knew that they would.
More examples could be
given, but these are enough to give us a better understanding of what the Bible
teaches about predestination.
We have learned that God
does predestine some things, but He does not predestine everything. Those
things He does predestine, He does not violate our free will, but He does use
His foreknowledge of events and people to bring about His predetermined plans.
As we close out this
lesson, I want you to understand that God has predetermined before the
foundation our world that we could be saved through His Son, but it is up to
you to choose to accept what God has made possible for you through His son. If
you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and you are ready to repent and
confess Jesus as your Lord, then why not come forward and be baptized into
Christ for the remission of your sins so that you can become a child of God.
Parts of this sermon were adapted
from articles on the subject by